Cooked beans good to eat? Need answer fast .

I understand that dried beans, or at least some kinds of beans, MUST be soaked and drained or else they’re bad for you. They are toxic, and the soaking leaches out the bad stuff.

My neighbor just cooked up a whole pot and now is contemplating dumping them all because she thinks they smell “wrong”. I suspect they are totally salvageable. Thus this thread asking for advice, but need it soon!

They are white beans, not red or pinto beans. I know that beans can be “quick soaked”, by bringing them to a boil and then soaking for an hour or two, rather than soaking in cold water overnight.

So, she’s slow-cooked these beans for a couple hours. I think they smell just like I think they ought to smell. I ate a few, and I think they are undercooked. But they’ve been slow-cooked for a couple hours.

So. I think that counts as a perfectly good quick soak. (As of this moment, it’s all still fairly warm.) I think she should just pour out all the remaining water, rinse, and cook again, and they should be fine.

But here’s a catch: She also cooked up some canned meat chunks with these beans. If the beans have toxins that leach out during the soaking, might that have contaminated the meat? And even if so, if it all gets cooked up again, will the meat be good?

If it were me, I’d do all that and eat a little bit, and if I live until morning, then I’d eat the rest over several days. (It’s a big crock pot full.)

What do the chefs and nutritionists of the Dope think?

(No, Discobot, my topic isn’t exactly similar to any of those you suggest, although some look kinda close.)

I’m one of the Total Dipsticks eluded to in the header, but I’d eat them.

I’m on the “nah” side to the belief that soaking must be done to “release toxins”.

Soaking helps them cook faster and keep their shapes better, but no danger exists without soaking. Instant Pot beans without soaking are fine for example.

While I’m waiting here for answers, I’m also doing some on-line research. Everything I’m finding says that red kidney beans especially are poisonous unless prepared right, but other kinds are also to lesser extents.

The advices seem to be of two kinds:

  1. Soaking in cold water overnight then rinsing leaches out the toxins, or
  2. Boiling for 10 minutes destroys the toxins.

The beans in question here are white beans, and have been slow-cooked for at least two hours, so I imagine that if they are just rinsed and then cooked again, they are fine. (ETA: What I can infer from some stuff I’m seeing is that slow cooking isn’t hot enough to destroy these toxins, but I think it’s good enough to leach it out, if the water is discarded and the beans are rinsed.)

I’m concerned mainly that toxins may leach out into the water that might have contaminated the meat. I suppose if that is all cooked some more, it would destroy the toxin and be just fine.

If it were me, I think I’d feel fine with that advice. But this is what I advised a neighbor, so I’d better be right!!! Hence, my request for more opinions here.

I’m finding that I did start a thread last May about slow-cooking, where this topic was tangentially discussed. (Here.)

But not in the detail I’m looking for here.

Huh. I’ve never poured off the soaking water before cooking the beans. And often I cook them from scratch all in one go in the pressure cooker, where they’re obviously not drained. I eat home-cooked beans nearly every day, and have never gotten ill.

If she does try cooking her beans some more, and they don’t soften up, it would be due to old beans. Pressure cooking will work to soften up old beans when regular cooking won’t.

The two objections to that, that seem to be mentioned a lot, are

  1. Aside from whatever “toxins” are in the beans, they are liable to be just plain dirty and dusty. So, soak or no soak, they at least need to be rinsed.
  2. I’m seeing suggestions in several sources saying that boiling for 10 minutes will neutralize the toxins in some kinds of beans – but that cooking in a slow-cooker isn’t hot enough for that.

Now I see that you specified a pressure cooker. Now that’s a pot of a different color. The whole idea of pressure cookers is that they heat up food to a boiling temperature that’s higher than normal boiling temperature, n’est-ce pas?

^^^ This. I may wash them briefly beforehand but don’t count on it. Pressure cooker fixes all ills. Jam cooked beans into recipe and keep going.

Since I’m the one who mentioned it in the other thread. I can’t find anything that says soaking is sufficient to leach out the poison.

Everything I find says either,

  1. You must boil the beans
  2. You must soak, then boil the beans.

Well, in a sense. If you soak overnight, that doesn’t cook the beans, and you still have to cook them. So the instructions are either:

  1. Boil then rinse. Then boil again to cook them, or
  2. Soak overnight then rinse. Then boil to cook them.

What I’m not seeing is:

  • Soak overnight, then rinse, then boil, then rinse again, then boil to cook.

I don’t always use a pressure cooker. Always a quick rinse first, either way.

Says here that boiling for 10 minutes is sufficient to neutralize the toxins in red kidney beans.. Soaking may remove some of the lectins but wouldn’t be sufficient to eliminate the problem. It’s the boiling that makes the difference.

Nowadays, slow cookers tend to cook hotter than the old ones did. If the liquid is bubbling, it’s hot enough.

TriPolar’s link says simmering is not hot enough, and various other source I’ve been looking at also say a slow-cooker isn’t hot enough. That leads me to wonder: What exactly does simmering mean? Is that bubbling? I always though that if it’s bubbling, it’s boiling.

Simmering is when the bubbles barely break the surface. Boiling is bubbling. Temp at 212F or above.

If it’s at a rolling boil after stirring it’s hot enough. For beans they recommend boiling early so it will be easy to tell before it thickens. I’m sure enough time at lower temperatures will work too but maybe it’s too long for reasonable cooking times.

But actual cooking times for beans are generally some multiple hours. If 10 minutes at a rolling boil is good enough, what do you think about 2 hours of simmering?

That seems to be the case here. Neighbor cooked beans in slow-cooker for 2 hours (she says) without any prior soaking or boiling. They are white beans of some sort (navy beans, I suspect). I think those 2 hours of slow cooking will be just fine, if she will just drain, rinse, and then cook some more. (ETA: They definitely are undercooked and need to be cooked some more, as of 5 hours ago when I started this thread.)

As for the meat, I’m guessing that there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t suppose the meat is dangerously contaminated.

I hope I didn’t just poison the whole family. I feel moderately confidant that I did not.

Yeah, 2 hours probably isn’t going to be enough without presoaking. Can’t she just throw everything into a pot and cook it on the stove for another hour or whatever it takes? Forget about toxins, the beans have already cooked to a safe level.

That’s my point, I hope. I think those 2 hours of simmering probably serves the purpose of presoaking. So drain and rinse, and then proceed as if you just finished precooking/presoaking.

I can’t find the original FDA notice right now anymore, but a few other random sites still show their findings.